City ordinance prohibits swimming in San Antonio River

Penalties carry as much as $500 fine

SAN ANTONIO – It is hot, humid and just right for swimming in a pool, lake or river, but not the San Antonio River.

KSAT-12 helicopter SKY 12 spotted kids swimming in the river Wednesday afternoon along Mission Reach. Swimming in that river is illegal.

"There is a city ordinance that doesn't allow swimming in the San Antonio River," said Melissa Bryant, environmental sciences manager for San Antonio River Authority. 

Swimmers who are caught can be fined up to $500.

That is not the only reason to stay out of the river. There are health concerns as well.

Rosalinda Gonzales rides her bike along the banks of the river. She said she does not get in and will not let her kids get in, especially after recent heavy rains.

"I don't think it is a good idea, because the rain we had, a lot of rain, you don't know what it brings," Gonzales said.

Bryant has a pretty good idea.

"We have pet waste, we have oil and grease, we have any pollutants that come from the streets," she said.

Some pollutants can carry bacteria such as E. coli, which if ingested, especially by a child, could lead to serious health issues.

"(It) can lead to people getting sick. They (could) have diarrhea, have upset stomachs, especially in children. It leads them to having to go to the ER," Bryant said.

SARA wants people to know there are other ways to enjoy the river, such as kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddle boarding.


About the Author:

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.